2011 Maine Brook Trout Pond Survey

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After reviewing results from the 2011 Brook Trout Pond Survey, biologists plan to continue research for 2012. Organizers are seeking volunteer anglers to survey remote ponds for the 2012 brook trout season.

“The success of this project is entirely dependent on the data collected by volunteer anglers,” said Jeff Reardon of Trout Unlimited. The project’s focus on remote ponds offers anglers a chance to explore new places while advancing trout conservation efforts.

“The goal of the Brook Trout Pond Survey is to recruit volunteers to identify previously-undocumented wild brook trout populations in remote Maine ponds.  Maine brook trout are a special resource, and we need to know where they are before we can protect and manage them appropriately,” said Merry Gallagher of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

2011 Maine Brook Trout Pond Survey Results

Project staff have analyzed the data collected by volunteers in 2011 and are pleased to announce the results of the first ever Brook Trout Pond Survey.  During the 2011 season, 81 volunteer anglers contributed nearly 1900 hours of their time to the project.  Volunteers came from all corners of Maine, and also New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont.  “Dedicated volunteers included die-hard fly anglers, spin and bait fishermen (where permitted), and avid kayakers who enjoy wetting a line from time to time –  but most importantly, every one who participated in this project is passionate about protecting Maine’s unique brook trout,” said Amanda Moeser, a Maine Audubon employee who serves as Volunteer Coordinator for the project.

Volunteers searched for brook trout in a total of 112 ponds, and 95 ponds were successfully surveyed from the original list of 187 ponds.  Volunteers confirmed brook trout presence in 24 of the surveyed ponds and observed signs of brook trout presence in another 21 ponds.  Volunteers confirmed an absence of brook trout in 50 ponds, which is equally valuable information to fisheries biologists. The 75 ponds that were not surveyed will be added to the 2012 Pond List.

As a result of the surveys, 43 ponds were recommended for more extensive surveys by MDIFW biologists in 2012. During the summer, fisheries biologists will be assessing the status of the fish population as well as completing a depth profile and water quality analysis.  Based on the formal survey results, the next step in the process will be for fisheries biologists to evaluate how best to conserve these native trout populations and their habitats through appropriate management strategies.

2012 Maine Brook Trout Pond Survey

For 2012, anglers are needed to help Maine Audubon, Trout Unlimited, and state biologists gather data on which ponds in western and northern Maine are inhabited by wild brook trout. In addition, a team of biologists will be conducting “new pond surveys” on more than 40 ponds where brook trout were caught or observed by volunteer anglers in 2011.

297 new ponds are being added to the list of waters to survey in 2012. Surveys can be completed any time before September 30, 2012. The project partners are providing maps, data sheets, and instructions on how to survey each pond at their website: www.tumaine.org/brooktrout.htm.

To sign up as a volunteer, contact Amanda Moeser at (207) 781-6180 x207 or amoeser@maineaudubon.org.

source: Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife